Build Thread. Lap Steel from scraps.

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by buddyboy69, May 24, 2015.

  1. buddyboy69

    buddyboy69 Member

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    I enjoy build threads as much as anybody, so ill try and contribute to the pool. I recently joined a country band and there are parts where a lap steel would fit in really well. so i figured id make myself one instead of buying one, wheres the fun in that. wait, what am i saying......once in a while I like to try and make instruments out of as much discarded trash as possible, just for the heck of it, and this is one. We are all about recycling around this house.

    so here we go......

    i start with a slab of pine from an old 1970s table leaf, and a piece of maple that was once discarded wood flooring for the board. i also made my 22.5" template for the slots.
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    next i make my design. sorry bad pic.
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    it was bulk pickup week around here so ive been scouring the curbs for decent wood, mostly pressboard ikea garbage. but i managed to find this old table leaf that is nice and flat and solid. i carefully cut out my template and line it up.
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    a quick spray and i have an outline.
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    the template. i cut it using a router and straight edges.
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    i attatch the template to the pine table slab and do some more creative routing.
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    ta da! i use the cut off pieces and rip em to make the frame for the lid.
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    bondo, yes i know, most dont like bondo but it workd great and im painting it anyway.
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    primer
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    marking the slots on the board.
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    cutting the slots on the board. many of my tools and templates are all made of discarded wood like this slot cutting jig.
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    here im gluing binding strips into the slots. this was for a fretless conversion that someone pulled out of, so its mine now.
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    back to the template and see about a pick guard.
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    gathering all the pieces parts and materials to see what i need to scrounge. swing and a miss on the pickguard, back to the drawing board on that. im going more angular than curvy to match the lines of the lap steel itself. the guard and headstock cover are going to be made from aluminum stock i found discarded by heating dudes, or knockers as we like to call them. what im going for is an all in one functional lap steel that is its own case. open it up and plug er in. i have enough vinyl left over from other case projects, although i may need to do some creative patching.
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    im still trying to figure out what to do about the fret markers, i want them black but im having a hard time scrounging something that will work. i may just paint them on. :dunno

    Well thats where im at with this project. ill post more when i have more progress.

    thanks for looking.:drinkcheers.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2015
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  2. Go Cat Go!!

    Go Cat Go!! Member

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    Wish i had your skills/ I can even boil an egg. :(
     
  3. Quarter

    Quarter Member

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    Cool idea! Now you just need to fit an amp in the cover and your good to go ;)
     
  4. buddyboy69

    buddyboy69 Member

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    yeah right! a bigger cover would be in order. nice to see you post Quarter. your steels are what basically inspired me to make one. thanks.
     
  5. buddyboy69

    buddyboy69 Member

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    a little time before the bbq today.

    a sharp chisel to cut down the binding.
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    basically a fretless. ill do a final flat sand once i attatch it to the body. i put white markers at the 12th and 24th frets. i hope it works out.
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    a quick test for adhesive in the vinyl case covering.
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    and besides sanding primer and re priming, im done for today.
     
  6. weenerdoggs

    weenerdoggs What's Up Dogg?

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    This is an awesome project! Nice work!
     
  7. buddyboy69

    buddyboy69 Member

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    thanks, ive been wanting a lap steel for a while now but couldnt bring myself to throw down the cash. playing country and seeing Quarter's killer lap steels i just couldnt hold out any longer. of course i still have to learn some licks on the thing. im shootin for country and Hawaiian style stuff. ill only be playing on certain songs so it shouldnt be too tough, i hope.
     
  8. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    Very interesting build. Looking forward to see how it turns out.

    Thanks for letting us in on it.
     
  9. Guitarworks

    Guitarworks Member

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    Good use of your odds & ends pieces. I love using my leftover pieces of wood for smaller builds like steels and whatnot. I never throw any wood into my scrap barrel that's bigger than a couple inches and can be squared up. I might wind up gluing 5 different species together, but it doesn't seem to matter - they turn out to be great-sounding, fun instruments and customers love 'em. My true scrap (the small irregular stuff that really has no further use) goes into the fire pit for a nice evening fire.
     
  10. buddyboy69

    buddyboy69 Member

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    hey guitarworks. ill finally be using one of the pickups you sent me a while back from my last recycle thread. thanks again and good to see you post.
     
  11. Guitarworks

    Guitarworks Member

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    You're more than welcome! Glad I could help - keep up the great work!

    In the spirit of recycling, upcycling, and giving scrap pieces & old used wood a new lease on life, I'll share one of my side projects, if you don't mind my riding along on your thread for just a moment.

    The neck is made from an old furniture-grade cherry coat tree that was no longer in service – I got 4 neck blanks out of that. The fretboard is a strip of excess black walnut, and the body is comprised of coat tree cherry, plus excess pieces of black walnut, ash and maple leftover from other builds I finished and sold. Of course, as is often the case with using short-size and repurposed woods, a miniscule amount of automotive body filler is sometimes necessary to fill natural voids, fill unavoidable gaps and create material where there was none on the original piece in order to correct it and square it up properly. I have old salvaged pots, odd never-used surplus switches from my electronics stash that I save for projects like this, and a set of used cheap economy tuners for it as well. I also made a poker chip out of the plastic flip-top from one of our discarded shampoo bottles – it was the prefect diameter and thickness.

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    Last edited: May 25, 2015
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  12. buddyboy69

    buddyboy69 Member

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    yeah man! thats what im talkin about.
     
  13. buddyboy69

    buddyboy69 Member

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    An hour here, an hour there. pretty much all i get these days, so its snippets until i get a good block of time. heres what i did today.


    starting the pickguard and headstock cap. the cap is functional more that it looking cool. being pine i dont want the tuners to pull out.
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    band saw
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    Drill press
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    Coping saw
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    surface prep with contact cement.
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    position
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    clamp
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    start sanding down the edges of the pickguard.
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    And....... im outta time, gotta go.
     
  14. buddyboy69

    buddyboy69 Member

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    after the aluminum has been clamped for a day i do some more edge routing to fix the edges.
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    after some sanding and rounding of the edges it looks like this.
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    tape it up and its back to paint.
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    the pickguard after sanding and rounding. i like the look.
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  15. T Dizz

    T Dizz Member

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    subscribed.. cool!!
     
  16. buddyboy69

    buddyboy69 Member

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    not much progress, but a little color, or lack there of....
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  17. buddyboy69

    buddyboy69 Member

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    today i drilled out in tuner holes. i didnt have the luxury of being able to use the drill press so i had to use a hand drill.
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    im lacking materials for nut bridge and tail so i decided to re-use this thing. i have no idea what its from, a friend gave me some parts he had laying around many years ago and its been hanging around since then. it missing the mounting bolts so ill have to modify it to fit my "dont want to buy it" needs.
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    last ill clamp on the board and let it sit for a day. once thats on i can start fabricating the nut and bridge.
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  18. buddyboy69

    buddyboy69 Member

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    Time to start making the nut and bridge.

    It stars off as a hunk of Brass. I mark my lines.
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    Rough cut on the band saw. (i love this tool)
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    I mark some compensation lines.
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    file.
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    Drill.
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    File some more with little files and sand with 400 grit paper.
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    I may wet sand so they shine, but thats later before i install them. or i may not.
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    Mock up time to check where i am. still lots to do........
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  19. buddyboy69

    buddyboy69 Member

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    9 days since any progress on this, such is life.

    Today, i painted on fret markers. After checking out different designs for lap steel, it seems that anything goes.

    so i did this.
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    paint it
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    take off tape.
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    Last edited: Jun 13, 2015
  20. JJ321

    JJ321 Member

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    I like the fret markers.
     

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